O!

Third Sunday of Advent.

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

December 17 marks the beginning of the eight days of immediate preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord on Christmas Day. This season is particularly rich in family gatherings and a unique opportunity to set time aside to pray with one’s family and friends.

Prayer is central to the life of the Church. She loves and constantly prays for all her children.

The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Church. It is the effort of the Church to be obedient to the mandate of the Lord to pray and to the exhortation of St. Paul to pray ceaselessly. It consists of Psalms, hymns and readings that are prayed throughout the day in an attempt to sanctify our lives too. On the day of our ordination to the diaconate, we, priests, make a promise to pray with the Church and for the Church. Every priest has a solemn duty to pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily. Some consecrated religious men and women also make a solemn promise to pray daily all or part of the Liturgy of the Hours. Everybody else is invited to join the Church at prayer by their participation in the Liturgy of the Hours. Incidentally, this weekend I will teach some parishioners how to pray morning and evening prayer and if anybody else is interested, I will be happy to teach them.

In the Liturgy of the Hours there are different moments for prayer, thus its name. It consists of a moment for morning prayer, midday prayer, evening prayer and night prayer. Evening prayer includes the Magnificat, the Virgin Mary’s song of praise at the Visitation. Every evening, the Church prays with the words of the Blessed Mother. The recitation or singing of the Magnificat, is preceded by an antiphon that is always a reference to the liturgical season or feast day. During these eight days of immediate preparation for Christmas, the antiphons for the Canticle of Mary include the exclamation O! All of them tell us something about the mystery of the Incarnation that we are about to celebrate with special intensity.

“Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way of salvation,” on December 17.

“O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free,” on December 18.

“O Flower of Jesse’ stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid,” on December 19.

“O Key of David, O Royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and lead your captive people into freedom,” on December 20.

“O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,” on December 21.

“O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust,” on December 22.

“O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God,” on December 23

Of course, the evening of December 24 is already the Vigil for Christmas Day that is why the evening of the eighth day we are already in Christmas mood and the antiphon for the Canticle of Mary is “When the sun rises in the morning sky, you will see the King of kings coming forth from the Father like a radiant bridegroom from the bridal chamber.”

Whether you pray the Liturgy of the Hours or not, I invite you to take a few minutes of your busy schedules every day beginning this Sunday, December 17 to ponder and meditate on these beautiful antiphons. I will ask the webmaster to post them in the banner of the parish website so that you can have them readily available at the tip of your fingers wherever you are and whenever you find some time to lift up your mind in contemplation of the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of God that we are about to celebrate.

May this time help us to rediscover the depth of the love of God and his tenderness that leads Him to become one with us, one of us!

 

Fr. Roberto M. Cid

 

Important notice: Since Christmas Day, December 25 falls on a Monday, I would like to remind you that Sunday, December 24 is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and we will have our regular Sunday Mass schedule beginning with the Vigil Mass on Saturday, December 23 at 5 PM but we will not have our Mass in Spanish on Sunday at 7 PM.

The same liturgical observation will apply to January 1, which is also a holy day of obligation when we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Since this year it falls on a Monday, on Sunday December 31, Solemnity of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we will have our regular Sunday Mass schedule beginning with the Vigil Mass on Saturday, December 30 at 5 PM but we will not have our Mass in Spanish on Sunday at 7 PM.

Please refer to the Christmas season Mass schedule.

Fr. Roberto M. Cid